Guide to Quality Instructional Materials

This guide provides guidance to state, district, and school level leaders in the selection of high quality instructional materials that are aligned to standards, address education goals and are accessible for all students.

In 2018, SETDA completed a refresh of the Guide and included new topic areas. The Planning section,  discusses curriculum standards. New topics in the Considerations section include accessibility, interoperability and student data privacy. SETDA moved the State Snapshots to a topic heading and added states. We will continue to update this section as we gather more state examples. The State Snapshots are a great way to learn how other states are reviewing instructional materials.

Topic Areas:

Why is This Important: The 2017 Curriculum Research: What We Know and Where We Need to Go publication found that “curriculum is deeply important, that a teacher’s or district’s choice of curriculum can substantially impact student learning, and that—as a result—the paucity of evidence upon which sound instructional, purchasing, and policy decisions can be made is a matter of deep concern and urgent need.” Further, the Choosing Blindly: Instructional Materials, Teacher Effectiveness and the Common Core publication from the Brown Center on Education Policy at Brookings stated that “there is strong evidence that the choice of instructional materials has large effects on student learning—effects that rival in size those that are associated with differences in teacher effectiveness.”

From Print to Digital cover with blue banner and a hand pulling out a tablet

Essential Question: How do schools and districts choose quality instructional materials?

How to Use This Guide: State, district and school level leaders can use this guide to launch and maintain vetting processes for the selection of quality instructional materials aligned to standards. Key considerations, questions and helpful hints are included throughout the guide. Additionally, the guide includes best practice examples from states and districts and national, state and local resources to consider when selecting quality instructional materials.

This guide was developed in collaboration with state and district leaders, including instructional materials coordinators and academic officers and leaders from the private sector.

This work was developed through the generous support of the

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

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